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DA Coaches: Going Pro?
Jon Victor '14 Editorial Associate
February 27, 2013

Should Deerfield bring in professional coaches? As of now, the Academy does not regularly bring in outsiders to coach sports who are not also faculty or administration. But professional coaching is something that is prevalent at the collegiate level, and could maybe find its way onto our campus sometime soon.

One concern is that professional coaches wouldn’t be able to understand the lives of students off the playing field. This would harm the “Deerfield experience,” as it would cause the coach to place unfair demands on his or her athletes.

“I think that for coaches to understand the obligations of students, they need to work here,” said John Burke, who teaches Latin and Greek and coaches boys’ varsity swimming. “I think coming in from the outside they have a tunnel vision on that particular student, to the exclusion of everything else that that student does here. I think that’s detrimental to the Deerfield experience.”

“Coaches need to understand the place that athletics have in our lives here at Deerfield and that we have other things to do,” Elana Van Arnam ’13 said. I also want a coach to know me outside of the sport and care about me as more than just an athlete.”

Still, some believe that students and teachers alike would benefit from professional coaches.

“I think twe should bring in professional coaches because teachers have too much on their plates with having to teach classes and grade assignments. It would make us better at athletics and would get our players up to par with college level,” Shanya Hopkins ’14 said.

In the end, the school would have to evaluate its priorities before it made a decision like this.

“If our primary concern is winning games, then we should have professional coaches at the varsity level, but teachers should still be heavily involved to maintain a connection between faculty and students,” Reilly Simmons ’14 said.

“You have to look at the purpose of sports at Deerfield,” Nina Sola ’13 said. “It historically has been to supplement education. In that way, it is better to have coaches be your teachers because it is easier to build relationships. But if the purpose of sports is just to win, then professionals are the way to go because they can put more time into coaching and would be more up to date on methods and techniques.”